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If there be a life after death, clearly the agent or subject of our vital activities must be capable of an existence separate from the body.
The belief in an animating principle in some sense distinct from the body is an almost inevitable inference from the observed facts of life.
With this we may compare the "mind-stuff" theory and Pan-psychism of certain modern scientists.
Other philosophers again described the soul's nature in terms of substance.
In the rude psychology of the primitive nations, the soul is often represented as actually migrating to and fro during dreams and trances, and after death haunting the neighbourhood of its body.
Nearly always it is figured as something extremely volatile, a perfume or a breath.
It is composed of two elements, one an element of "sameness" ( tauton ), corresponding to the universal and intelligible order of truth, and the other an element of distinction or "otherness" ( thateron ), corresponding to the world of sensible and particular existences.
The philosophers did something to correct such views.
Indian philosophy, whether Brahminic or Buddhistic, with its various systems of metempsychosis, accentuated the distinction of soul and body, making the bodily life a mere transitory episode in the existence of the soul.
They all taught the doctrine of limited immortality , ending either with the periodic world-destruction ( Brahminism ) or with attainment of Nirvana (Buddhism).
Often, as among the Fijians, it is represented as a miniature replica of the body, so small as to be invisible.
The Samoans have a name for the soul which means "that which comes and goes".